Blood Meal No Longer Permitted in Dairy Rations

Dr. Ronald L. Boman
USU Extension Dairy Specialist

On January 26, 2004, the Secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services announced several new public health measures, to be implemented by FDA, to strengthen significantly the existing multiple safeguards to protect Americans from exposure to the agent thought to cause BSE or Mad Cow Disease and at the same time help prevent the spread of BSE in U.S. cattle. Previous safeguards included (1) import controls (1989), (2) surveillance of the U.S. cattle population for BSE, (3) FDA�s 1997 animal feed ban (prohibiting the feeding of most mammalian protein to ruminants), 4) USDA�s mandate to not let any bovine tissues known to be at high risk for carrying the agent of BSE to enter the human food supply, and 5) planning to contain the potential for any damage from a BSE positive animal (which occurred on Dec 23, 2003 in the state of Washington). The new safeguards are said to be �science-based� and further bolster those mentioned above.

To make strong public health protections against BSE even stronger, one aspect of the interim rule eliminates the exemption that allowed mammalian blood and blood products collected at slaughter to be fed to other ruminants (dairy cattle in particular) as a protein source. They cite scientific evidence suggesting that blood can carry some infectivity for BSE. Blood meal is frequently added to dairy rations because of its relatively high level of the essential amino acid lysine. Fish meal would be a likely substitute to supply the needed levels of lysine. Blood meal will still be legal until the rule is published in the Federal Register followed by a 30-day comment period and then most likely another 60 days for feed mills to use up their supply. Plate waste is also banned as a feed ingredient for ruminants. Plate waste consists of uneaten meat and other meat scraps collected from restaurants and rendered into meat-and-bone meal. Animal tallow is still presently approved for use in dairy cattle rations.

Included in the interim rule is the requirement for feed mills to have separate equipment and facilities or production lines dedicated to non-ruminant feeds if they use protein that is prohibited in ruminant feed. Some mills make both ruminant and non-ruminant feed, and this rule will prevent cross contamination. Also FDA in conjunction with state agencies will step up its inspections of feed mills, renderers and other firms that handle animal feed and feed ingredients. ©